Today, at the State House, the Joint Committee on Child, Families, and Persons with Disabilities heard testimony on H494, An act relating to improving quality in early education and care by family child care providers. Sean is a co-sponsor of this bill which was filed by Rep. Scaccia of Readville. An excerpt of Sean’s testimony is listed below.
“For our children, there is little more important than starting out the first years of life with a caring and nurturing support system that encourages strong development long into the future. In Massachusetts, family child care provides 35 percent of the full-time child care in Massachusetts and nearly 70 percent of infants and toddlers in non-parental care are in family child care settings. More than 5,000 providers care for one or more children of low income working families in their own homes or those of the children.
Studies tell us that parents, nationwide, have difficulties finding quality care for their children. This is unacceptable and this bill would help families trying to find quality care by providing them with an organized quality workforce. Giving family child care providers a collective voice will help them enhance the quality of care by providing support and incentives for training and education. Additionally, research shows that infants and toddlers need secure attachments with quality caregivers in order to thrive socially and cognitively.
Having caregivers is great, having high quality caregivers is the goal. This bill creates an environment where caregivers can excel throughout their careers. We must help family child care providers learn more about promoting children’s development in the earliest years, and we must give high-quality providers the support they need to stay in the field and provide stable care for infants and toddlers. Research shows this is the time in which having quality care fosters strong development in almost every measure.
We are unable to force caregivers in Massachusetts to stay on the job or take steps to improve their skills. However, we can create opportunities so that when they want to make improvements they can and at the same time, ensure that our children are being cared for by quality caregivers. This is what H494 represents to me: a better quality of life for family child care providers and quality care for the next generation.”